Handling client changes

It’s Not Me, It’s You: Handling Client Changes

minute read
All client relationships, especially long ones, come with inevitable life changes. See our top tips on handling changes in your client’s circumstances tactfully.

Every fitness professional dreams of a decades-long working relationship with all their favourite clients. But the truth is that all client relationships – especially long ones – come with inevitable life changes.

Let’s talk about how to handle changes in your client’s circumstances with sensitivity and professionalism.

What to do when a PT client’s circumstances change

If the change is financial, have a conversation with the client about what they want to do. If they want to keep training, but are worrying about finances, can you offer a lower-cost alternative like group classes, small group PT, or a training plan?

If they really can’t afford to train or the thought of juggling finances is too stressful, respect their decision. You can keep in touch via email or message if they would welcome the support.

If the reason for your client’s change in circumstances isn’t financial, it is likely to be due to pregnancy, chronic illness, or medical treatment. In these cases, be honest with yourself. Are you the most appropriate trainer for them?

Feeling nervous about introducing price increases? Check out our blog Handling Price Increases; How, When and Why for guidance on how to manage them smoothly.

What to do if your PT client is pregnant

Do your qualifications and insurance cover pre- and post-natal training? If your qualifications do, but your insurance doesn’t, update the insurance immediately. Don’t assume that your friendship with the client is strong enough for them to not hold you accountable. Do the right thing by everyone and get adequate insurance cover.

Do you have the knowledge to help this client train safely and make progress? If not, be honest.  Tell them you’d like to continue working with them and you’re committed to learning about pre- and post-natal training.

If they decide they would rather train with a specialist in pre- and post-natal exercise, introduce them to someone you trust. Stay in touch throughout their pregnancy, offer your support, and talk about them coming back to you in future.

What to do if your PT client is diagnosed with long term illness

You must ask yourself if you have the knowledge to help this client train safely throughout their illness and any treatment. If a client has been diagnosed with an illness that will have a great impact on their physiology (for example, cancer or an eating disorder) you must be very honest with yourself.

If however a client has been diagnosed with a more predictable, less treatment-heavy condition such as diabetes, you may decide to continue PT. Some illness are easier for you to learn about.

If you or the client decides that it’s best to refer out, support the client through this process. Remember they are already dealing with a diagnosis and treatment. They are likely to see you as one stable element in their life, and changing that relationship could be difficult.

If you both decide to carry on the training relationship, connect with their Doctor to stay in the loop about their treatment. Be flexible with their goals and training frequency, and accept that PT may mean regular movement for a while.

Ever considered niching into specific illnesses or areas of health? We interviewed Yani who specialises in training people during and post cancer treatments, as well as contributing to clinical research, to find out about what lead her into the subject, and how her day to day looks. Check it out here, Yani Fish – PT With A Specific Focus.

What to do if a PT client develops a long-term injury

Injuries can be challenging, as it could be some time before it becomes clear that an injury is beyond your knowledge. If your client isn’t progressing despite workarounds, you need to address it with the client.

Do this before the client gets frustrated about the situation. Suggest referring them to a trainer who specialises in this injury (or perhaps in their sport), or seek additional support to help the client deal with it. Don’t leave them in the dark on your thought process.

Whilst we hope they don't, it's sensible to prepare for things to turn a little sour.

If a relationship with a client is becoming difficult, and you'd like to remove them from your roster gracefully, check out our guide Problem Clients and How to Handle Them.

Fitness business software to manage client changes

Striive is your do-it-all platform for managing the entire client relationship – including the ups and downs of changing circumstances.

It's likely at some point we'll need to make a note about a client, that we don't want them to see but need to keep close to hand. With Striive your “client notes” area is private to you and lasts forever, giving you a valuable - and honest! - history.

Check it all out in Striive with a free trial, no card details required.

Not ready yet? Discover how Striive can help you here.

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